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29th Aug 2022

How did you know: Irish mums talk about the first signs they were in labour

Melissa Carton

Baby's kicks in the womb can equal 'twice the force' of hitting a tennis ball

How did you know that you were in labour?

When I was pregnant I read every book, blog and pregnancy website so that I would know what to look out for.

When it came down to it, the onset of labour was completely different on both of my pregnancies, as is the case for most expectant mums.

It can be hard to prepare for an experience that has been unique for every single woman who has experienced it and even signs like waters breaking and contractions vary from mum to mum.

On my first child, my waters had to be broken by a nurse while on my second pregnancy my waters broke slowly in little drips, so subtly I didn’t realise that they had broken!

Irish birthing support group Doula Care Ireland put out the question on their Facebook page asking Irish mums what were their first signs of labour and this is what they had to say.

“My water broke while I was just about get up (or roll up) to go to bed ready for my induction the next morning. I had my baby before my appointment and all!”

Another replied that it felt like menstrual cramps;

“Period like pains – I noticed them, but probably didn’t realise I was in labour and would have my baby until I held her. ? I think i might have been in denial.”


One, in particular, stuck out to me because I had a similar experience when I went into labour with my daughter.

“Thought I’d eaten a dodgy burger and had really awful trapped wind.

Posted for advice on relief on a Fb group and someone pointed out I was in labour.”

I’ve written in my articles before how I thought I needed to go to the toilet only for it to turn out that I actually needed to start pushing!

What were your first signs of labour?